devotion – 5-20-14, last day in Israel

Wow! What a whirlwind this pilgrimage has been! We are packing up now, for a 2 AM wakeup call – why go to bed at all? just hoping to get a little rest before 2, because it will be a long flight!

Mark 15:20b – 26

Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’

We came today to the place called the Garden Tomb – an alternate traditions says that this was the hill of Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. In the attached picture, notice the face in the cliff; this is said to be where the hill derived its name.

Mark 16:1-7


When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’

And they laid him in a tomb and rolled a heavy rock over the opening – there is a tomb in this garden as well – whether or not it was the tomb where they laid Jesus we cannot say, but it does give a true picture of a first century tomb. But it doesn’t matter, because he is not there – he is risen!!

We had some truly moving moments there in the Garden – we shared Holy Communion there, with all 300 of us pilgrims participating! We prayed for one another – and later in the day, we left prayers in the Western Wall. And this week, I have prayed for you, here in this holy place. May you be richly blessed!

#1 – I did not get a very good angle on the face but you can see it.

#2 – The tomb
#3 – the Western (Wailing) Wall

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